Collins notches twice but Hatters fall to Tykes defeat
League One: Barnsley 3 Luton Town 2
Luton saw their six game unbeaten run in all competitions ended by an excellent Barnsley side this afternoon, who showcased their undoubted promotion credentials.
The defeat was however tinged with a real element of controversy, Town having a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside at 1-1, and then denied a late penalty when sub Danny Hylton was wrestled to the ground.
With the game live on Sky, Hatters were given a boost, able to name Hylton on the teamsheet for the first time since August 25, the striker on the bench, while James Justin came in for Elliot Lee.
In the Barnsley line-up was former Luton favourite Cameron McGeehan, who made over 100 appearances for the club before heading north.
The hosts made the perfect start, as with just five minutes on the clock, Brad Potts picked the ball and unleashed a low drive from 20 yards beyond James Shea and into the corner.
Barnsley's impressive array of midfield riches set up an opportunity for the overlapping Dimitri Cavare, as found by Alex Mowatt, his effort was finger-tipped behind by Shea.
George Moncur whizzed one over the top from 20 yards, while Jacob Brown glanced wide, Moncur's second effort easy for Shea.
Town thought they had a leveller out of the blue on 20 minutes, when Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's 25-yarder was fumbled by Jack Walton, James Collins netting the rebound, but he was adjudged offside and the goal didn't count.
TV replays were to show afterwards the forward was level with the hosts back-line and to make matters worse for Jones' side, they swiftly conceded a second goal on 26 minutes.
The game's stand-out player Moncur beat the sliding challenge of Glen Rea and pickedhe perfect moment to play in McGeehan, who as he had done so may times for Luton, arrived on cue to sidefoot home.
Sonny Bradley's flick from Jorge Grant's free kick was inches wide as Luton looked to halve the deficit immediately.
Grant then went for goal just two minutes before half time, his effort had keeper Jack Walton sprawling, hitting the outside of the post on its way behind.
Barnsley were inches away from a third on the stroke of half time, Moncur rounding Pearson, his cross just beyond the stretching Potts, with Moncur going alone from 22 yards, not missing by much.
Luton gave themselves a lifeline on the stroke of half time when Cornick was tripped in the box by Ben Williams for a penalty.
Collins, who had missed his last two efforts, made no mistake this time, confidently beating Walton straight down the middle.
Any thoughts though the Hattesr would be boosted by halving the deficit, readying themselves for an onslaught on the home goal after the break were to prove false though, as they never really looked capable of an equaliser.
McGeehan whacked an attempt wide, before meeting a deep free kick at the far post, heading against the woodwork, Shea tipping the rebound over.
The keeper had to collect Potts' low effort as Town struggled to clear a corner, the game turning into something of a masterclass from the hosts in how to hold on to a lead.
Jones rang the changes, bringing on Alan McCormack, Kazenga LuaLua and then Hylton, but just as Luton looked primed to try and get something from the game, they were 3-1 down with 11 minutes to go.
There was no denying the quality of the strike too, as on the angle, substitute Mamadou Thiam rifled into the top corner, leaving Shea with little chance.
Bradley put a header wide, but just as Luton looked dead and buried, they had a glimmer of hope, LuaLua's cross cannoning off the inside of the post and Collins was there to finish the rebound with an excellent volley for his second of the afternoon.
Jack Stacey's crucial block prevented Jacob Brown notching a fourth for the Tykes, while Hatters felt they had claims for a penalty in stoppage time, Hylton manhandled to the ground by Liam Lindsay, but referee Ross Joyce gave nothing as the visitors left empty-handed.
Tykes: Jack Walton, Dimitri Cavare, Ethan Pinnock (C), Liam Lindsay, Ben Williams (Daniel Pinillos 74), Jacob Brown, Brad Potts, George Moncur (Ryan Hedges 83), Mike Bahre (Mamadou Thiam 68), Cameron McGeehan, Alex Mowatt.
Subs not used: Henry Kendrick, Jared Bird, Adam Jackson, Victor Adeboyejo.
Hatters: James Shea, James Justin, Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley, Matty Pearson, Glen Rea (C Danny Hylton 78), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, James Justin, Jorge Grant (Alan McCormack 56), James Collins, Harry Cornick (Kazenga LuaLua 73).
Subs not used: Harry Isted, Alan Sheehan, Aaron Jarvis, Andrew Shinnie.
Booked: McCormack 88, Brown 90, LuaLua 90.
Referee: Ross Joyce.